Metro/Handout Karl Urban stars as the dystopian supercop Judge Dredd in Dredd 3D.

Based on the cult British comic books, director Pete Travis’s go-for-broke big screen bloodbath Dredd 3D is set to level theatres this Friday.

Starring Karl Urban (Doom, Lord of the Rings) as the titular dystopian supercop, Judge Dredd, shielded by a mask and with full authority to execute evildoers, the film sets up its story like a classic western.

Once Dredd and his rookie sidekick Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) are trapped inside the Peachtree slum by the psychotic drug lord Ma Ma (Lena Headey in a ferocious performance) Dredd must fight for his life by mowing down hundreds of baddies out for his blood.

And though the film is jet black and brutally gory, it is not without its humor says writer Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Never Let Me Go).

“There is humor in Dredd,” Garland told Metro immediately preceding its Toronto premiere at TIFF.

“He never smiles. But he does crack jokes. How Karl pitches and delivers that joke is the secret of the performance. He takes the piss. He has an ultra bone dry sense of humour.”

Bloodshed, black humour and a bigger body count than Saving Private Ryan aside, there is a beauty and majesty to the film, a bleak poetry — especially evident in its balletic 3D design — that is accentuated by a remarkable meditative electronic score by composer Paul Leonard-Morgan.

Surprisingly, that score stems from an unlikely source: Justin Bieber!

“Geoff Barrow from Portishead is a Dredd fan and he and over the years he’d been putting together music he wrote and put it together as an album called Drokk.  Drokk is a swear word in the Dredd books. Anyway, when we were done shooting I showed Geoff an early cut of the film, and he pointed me towards this software he found that makes music run 800 times slower, just like the “slo-mo” drug does to its victims in the movie. He sent me a link to a Justin Bieber song slowed down 800 times and it became this stunning trippy choral music. The whole movie was temped to Justin Bieber, in fact. Paul recreated that Bieber music on his own and slowed it down 800 times and we use that in the movie.”

To hear that original Bieber temp music, go to YouTube and search “Justin Bieber 800%”. And then get out to a theatre to have your mind further blown by Dredd 3D this Friday.

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